For three weeks, the world has watched war crimes apparently committed by both sides in Gaza: lethal attacks on schools and hospitals, rockets aimed at civilians, tunnels chillingly lined with syringes and ropes; and the dead and dying children. Now the call goes out from politicians and the UN secretary general for “accountability” and “justice”. That should mean a proper forensic investigation with criminal charges against commanders if the evidence warrants, heard in an international criminal court. It is important to understand why this could happen and why it probably will not – and why British diplomats have connived in making Gaza a legal black hole.… Seguir leyendo »
Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de febrero de 2009. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.
Yulia Tymoshenko’s miraculous release at the weekend was from a seven-year prison sentence imposed for a non-existent crime. The former Ukrainian prime minister had done nothing wrong: the police, prosecutors and jurists who fabricated her offence were subservient to a state that wanted her eliminated. Whether or not Tymoshenko becomes president of her embattled country, Europe needs to find a way to deal with officials who are complicit in human rights abuses.
Tymoshenko was accused of abuse of office, because she made a deal with Vladimir Putin when he stopped gas supplies to Ukraine in the winter of 2009. This threatened a humanitarian disaster unless Ukraine agreed to pay a higher price for Russian gas.… Seguir leyendo »
As Edward Snowden sits in an airside hotel, awaiting confirmation of Russia’s offer of asylum, it is clear that he has already revealed enough to prove that European privacy protections are a delusion: under Prism and other programmes, the US National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ can, without much legal hindrance, scoop up any electronic communication whenever one of 70,000 «keywords» or «search terms» are mentioned. These revelations are of obvious public interest: even President Obama has conceded that they invite a necessary debate. But the US treats Snowden as a spy and has charged him under the Espionage Act, which has no public interest defence.… Seguir leyendo »
Yulia Tymoshenko, heroine of the «orange revolution» and one of the few women ever to achieve prime ministerial office in the former Soviet republics, is not allowed to stand in Ukraine’s current national election. For the last 15 months she has been in prison, convicted for actions that would not amount to a crime in any other democracy. She is subjected to the grossest invasion of her privacy (almost every movement she makes is videoed) and constantly defamed by the president and his tame prosecutors. Europe seems to have abandoned her; but tomorrow, at the UN’s human rights committee, the UK can bring her situation to the world’s attention.… Seguir leyendo »
International criminal justice grinds slowly, but it can grind exceedingly small. Charles Taylor was first indicted in 2003 for crimes against humanity, in a UN court over which I presided. Then, he strutted the world stage as a head of state. Ghana refused our request to arrest him when he visited, and Nigeria gave him refuge for several years. There was a general expectation that he would escape trial, but the whirligig of time brings its changes and revenges: Taylor was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment, for aiding and abetting 11 kinds of war crimes and crimes against humanity – ranging from terrorism, rape and murder of civilians, to recruiting child soldiers and child sex slaves.… Seguir leyendo »
The fall of a tyrant is usually the cause of popular rejoicing followed by public vengeance. This is the fate the rebels obviously want for Colonel Gaddafi – hence their £1m bounty on his head and offer of a pardon for his killer. But it is just possible, should he be taken alive, that we will enter a new and better era in which tyrants will instead be dispatched to The Hague for fair trial in an international court for their crimes against humanity.
David Cameron has made one serious mistake – parroted repeatedly by the international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell – by insisting that the fate of the Gaddafis should be a matter for the Libyan people.… Seguir leyendo »
So farewell then, News of the World. We will remember Squidgygate and Camillagate, the buying up of witnesses («blood money»), the «kiss and sell» affairs, the celebrity hacks and most recently the phone hacking. Its editors have been «drinking at the last chance saloon» for 30 years, which should enter the record books as the longest swill in history.
It saw off the powerless Press Council, replaced by the worthless Press Complaints Commission (PCC). Nothing has really changed since it was condemned for publishing topless pictures of Diana on a private beach, to which judgment the paper responded by republishing them under the headline «This is what the row’s all about, folks».… Seguir leyendo »
Tomorrow brings excruciating embarrassment for the United Nations. It will honour the worst man left in the world, who now devotes his time to thwarting its attempts to bring other international criminals to justice. Colonel Gaddafi will make a triumphant address to the assembled dignitaries (including a humiliated President Obama), unless a district attorney in New York arrests him for murder, or torture, or conspiracy to cause explosions – or for any of the various crimes against humanity committed during 35 of his 40 years of dictatorship.
Gaddafi gets away with murder because European nations, and the corporations that influence their governments (British Petroleum in the case of the UK), are desperate to share in his oil wealth, and because he buys off the relatives of his victims with «blood money» ($2.7bn for Lockerbie, $1m per family for a UTA passenger jet, and further millions for US victims of his supply of semtex to the IRA), accompanied by insincere apologies.… Seguir leyendo »